Release date: January 17, 2014
Directed by: Tim Story
Written by: Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi
Official website: RideAlong.com
If you look closely, you can almost see how the studio thought this could be a solid movie. Combining the motor mouthed Kevin Hart with the gruff and brooding former rapper Ice Cube in a buddy cop formula movie probably seemed like comedy box office gold. Unfortunately, an awful script trumps all the fun that could have been had in the buddy cop comedy "Ride Along".
Kevin Hart plays Ben, a video game obsessed school security guard who aspires to be a real life policeman to impress the cop brother of his girlfriend and get his blessing to propose. Unfortunately for him, Ice Cube is that brother and he's protective of his little sister, played by Tika Sumpter. It doesn't help that his only real basis for thinking he can be a cop is an extensive knowledge of weaponry used in Call of Duty games, and an ear for Eastern European accents.
So, Cube gets a fantastic idea. Despite the fact he is working on the "case of his life" he's going to drag this little pipsqueak for a ride-along, and show him how tough the job is and prove he isn't cut out for the life of a cop, nor is he worthy of his sister's love. If it sounds vaguely familiar it's because it echoes nearly every other mismatched, odd couple, buddy cop comedy made in the past thirty years.
Of course, when any movie begins by telling you it's directed by Tim Story, that should be enough of a warning sign to indicate it's all downhill from that point. Story, who has directed both previous installments in the "Fantastic Four" series and "Taxi" and despite previously working with Hart before, the director is unable to tap into anything that has helped rocket Hart to popularity.
The one and only thing the movie has going for it is Hart and Ice Cube, who show flashes of having some great chemistry, but it's quickly dashed away by the unwillingness for the movie to venture into any new territory. The script gives them absolutely nothing to work with. Every scene is set up for Kevin Hart to either launch into some rant or run around the screen in a screaming panic. And poor Ice Cube has nothing to do but act as the straight man, frowning and rolling his eyes through most of the absurd antics.
But really, these movies aren't expected to be ground breaking. It's a well worn formula, which makes it that much more important to find a good on screen combo and provide them with a good script. So, it should be no surprise that there are up to four different writers credited to the story and screenplay. Much of which seems lifted from other better buddy cop flicks.
Despite everything there are a few good laughs. But only a few. Not nearly as many as there could have been or should have been. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube can only be so funny. While the script here gives them every chance to do what they do best, it's all for not when what they're saying isn't that funny to begin with.
- Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Saving Mr. Banks
- American Hustle
- Inside Llewyn Davis
Stay up to date by subscribing to my Movie Examiner column at the top of the page and you'll get my articles and reviews sent right to your e-mail.